New Book “Chases the Powhatan Arrow” Through Roanoke and Beyond

The Powhatan Arrow hauls passengers the mountains in the community of Coopers WV.
The Powhatan Arrow hauls passengers through the mountains in the community of Coopers, WV.

The Pocahontas Press has announced the release of author Michael Abraham’s new book, Chasing the Powhatan Arrow, A Travelogue in Economic Geography.

The book chronicles Abraham’s journey from Norfolk through Roanoke and on to Cincinnati, Ohio, following the route of the iconic passenger train that plied the rails from the end of World War II until the late 1960s.

Chasing the Powhatan Arrow explores the people, places, history, culture and future of what was then and still is a wonderfully complex, geographically fascinating, socially diverse, and economically mixed corridor through Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio. The vicissitudes of time have endowed the communities along the way with a broad spectrum of fortunes, branching from prosperity to failure.

Rather than arranged in chapters, the book mimics the train’s timetable, with stops in Norfolk, Suffolk, Petersburg, Blackstone, Crewe, Farmville, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Christiansburg and Pearisburg in Virginia, Bluefield, Welch, Williamson, and Kenova, in West Virginia, and Ironton, Portsmouth, and Cincinnati in Ohio.

“Michael’s new volume takes a fresh, unique perspective to the great body of literature on trains. Instead of documenting schedules, specifications, and technologies, Michael’s book explores the people, places, history, culture, and economic future of the corridor. It’s an informative, funny, enlightening book.” said Beverly Fitzpatrick, Jr., Executive Director of the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

Former Norfolk Southern CEO and Rail fan Preston Claytor added, “If you have not been to places like Crewe, Virginia, Welch, West Virginia, or Ironton, Ohio, then sit back and let Michael’s Chasing the Powhatan Arrow take you there. You’ll laugh, learn and be entertained and when you have finished the read I can promise that there will be a few of these out of the way towns that will be on your bucket list of places to visit.”

Abraham is a Blacksburg based author and an “inveterate wanderer of the back-roads of the Virginias.” Chasing the Powhatan Arrow is his eighth book, all about the central Appalachians.

The book is available on Pocahontas Press’ website at or the author’s website at